BA 162: Doing Good While Doing Well

April 24, 2010

When I accepted a full-time job at our local newspaper last fall, I thought I would be grounding myself. I imagined a regular routine and paycheck would support my work on Isis Initiative, Inc. Turns out the job can sometimes be more grinding than grounding. I found myself spending less time on the nonprofit–and less time on this blog, obviously.

Yet, the job has presented me with new opportunities to share the work and make wonderful contacts. Last week I interviewed Sandy Neubaum, the associate director of the Austin Entrepreneurship Program at Oregon State University. Sandy is a dynamic, passionate advocate for “doing good while doing well,” using business practices and profits to address social issues. She has 20 years experience working in nonprofit organization. Doing my job covering the higher education beat, I met a fabulous new mentor.

Sandy teaches BA162, a class in social entrepreneurship. Students divide into teams and create a fundraising project. She gives them $100 to invest and they’re expected to turn at least $150 in profit. Those profits are then invested in real nonprofit organizations.

When I was observing Sandy in class, she mentioned Isis Initiative, Inc. She asked me to give an impromptu five-minute speech about Isis and our work helping women overseas gain access to college education. Isis Initiative, Inc. is one of the nonprofits to which the students may choose to donate at the end of the term. I was so surprised and honored to have Isis selected.

Now we’ll see what the students do. Stay tuned.

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